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Augusta mayoral candidates attend forum ahead of election

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Election day is May 24, and nine Augusta mayor candidates attended a forum at the Kroc Center.

It all started with opening statements, followed by a series of questions each candidate was allotted the same amount of time to answer.

We were there for the whole event, and here are the keynotes.

Lori Myles expressed her platform is one of unity.

“I don’t want to become the next candidate or the next mayor for Black people. I do not want to become the next mayor for White people,” she said. “We must unify.”

Meanwhile-- Marion Williams emphasized his lengthy resume. I’ve been serving all my life. I served 16 years as an elected official: 8 years in District 2 and 8 years in Super District 9.

Later adding he only missed two commission meetings during that time. Next up, question time.

Candidates were asked if they would make changes to Augusta’s charter, possibly giving the mayor more power.

Steven Kendrick said he isn’t sure changing the charter is necessary but says the mayor’s powers are limited.

“The mayor doesn’t have a vote, doesn’t have a veto, doesn’t control the budget,” said Kendrick. “It’s just limited authority, and I think people expect more of that.”

Donald Bradshaw: “It may need to be changed at some time. At this time, I probably wouldn’t change it. And if I was hungry for power, and wanted to be king of Augusta, then, of course, I’d be changing it.”

Another round of questions.

What do they consider the main responsibilities of the mayor’s office? Garnett Johnson: “He leads this city, he’s the voice, he’s the person you always see in the media. It’s by far the most important role as we move this city forward.”

Charlie Hannah: “The mayor should represent the public’s interest before the commission or any other public body. And finally, the mayor should be an excellent representative of Augusta on the world stage.”

Next up, thoughts on budgeting. Robert Ingham: “The budget should be very critically looked at, audited, and accounted for.”

A.K. Hasan: “When we need something as simple as streetlights, we have to tax the citizens again. If we need stormwater, we have to tax the citizens again. What are we miss managing? What are we doing?”

Finally, ideas on how to spend millions of American Rescue Plan dollars. Lucas Johnson says-- infrastructure.

“Why would a business or a steakhouse want to come to south Augusta when there’s trash everywhere, when there’s potholes everywhere when there’s failing water and sewer systems everywhere,” he said.

There is another mayor forum on Saturday. The Richmond County Neighborhood Association Alliance is holding the event from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Henry Brigham Community Center Gym.

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